Norwich women fronts national campaign for ovarian cancer awareness

Esther Jury and her daughter Yasmine.

Esther Jury and her daughter Yasmine. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

She has fought and beaten ovarian cancer and now Esther Jury from Norwich has become the face of a social media campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease which few women know about.

Ovarian cancer and symptoms

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynaecological cancer in the UK and the fifth most common cancer in women

More than 7,000 women are diagnosed a year

It is not certain what causes ovarian cancer but it is thought that the cancer starts when the cells on the surface of the ovary do not repair themselves after ovulation.

The most common type of ovarian cancer – epithelial - tends to occur in post-menopausal women - 90pc of cases occur in those over the age of 45

Because some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to those seen in more common conditions it can be difficult to diagnose and a lot of women don’t know the symptoms

The three most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

Bloating that is persistent and does not come and go

Difficulty eating and feeling full more quickly

Abdominal or pelvic pain that is experienced most days

These symptoms are frequently experienced by women but if they are experienced frequently, persistently and severely the likelihood of ovarian cancer increases

Other symptoms include urinary symptoms, changes in bowel habit, extreme fatigue and back pain

The 43-year-old, who lives in Woodcock Road, was diagnosed with the cancer – which affects more than 7,000 women a year – last summer and assumed her symptoms of a swollen stomach was her body getting back to normal after having her son, Adam, now two.

“I was still breast feeding at the time and assumed that my symptoms were my body getting back to normal,” said the self-employed garden designer who is hoping to return to work soon after a year out recovering.

“I didn’t know anything about ovarian cancer before I had it. We’re told from a very young age about breast screenings and cervical smears but we never talk about ovarian cancer.”

Mrs Jury was diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer (the earliest stage) and went through six months of chemotherapy, had a hysterectomy in addition to her womb, ovaries, cervix, appendix and lymph nodes removed.

She was given the all clear last month.

“It was awful but there are positives to come out of it, you appreciate things a lot more and you moan less,” said Mrs Jury, who also has a four-year-old daughter Yasmine.

“It’s traumatic but you just get on with it. The worst thing was I have small children and when I came back from hospital they wanted to climb all over me but they couldn’t.

“It’s horrible for everyone else even though you’re the one going through it.”

Now, Mrs Jury will help ovarian cancer charity Ovacome to raise awareness of the disease by 
promoting their #TellYourDaughter campaign – which asks people to take a selfie with their daughters and pledge to tell them the symptoms of the disease.

“I’m very aware that people aren’t aware of ovarian cancer and we need to raise what is known about its symptoms,” she said.

“I contacted Ovacome and volunteered. I will be chatting to mums from my daughter’s school about it and will be running the Race for Life in Norwich.

“Women need to become more aware of the symptoms so they know what to look out for.”

For more information about ovarian cancer, visit
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